Xin Nian Hao
In China, most people wish each other "Xin Nian Kuai Le," which means Happy New Year. Among family and close friends, people use the shorter version, "Xin Nian Hao." These are customary ways to wish colleagues, friends and family a Happy Chinese New Year, which starts this year on January 25, 2020.
Gong xi fa cai
Another common phrase, more common in business or formal interactions, is “Gong xi fa cai” (Mandarin) or if you’re in Hong Kong, “Gong hei fat choy” (Cantonese). This loosely translates to “Wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”
Chinese New Year is the single biggest holiday to impact business in China as well as in countries with large Chinese communities, where it's referred to as Lunar New Year. There are variations between China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and others. One commonality is that many employees travel to visit family, and companies often close - similar to the time between Christmas and New Year’s.
The most important of Chinese traditions and holidays is the Chinese New Year, which begins on the first day of the lunar month and ends on the 15th day with the Lantern Festival (February 8, 2020), although the first week is considered the official holiday. The Chinese use a lunar calendar and accordingly, the date varies from year to year. In China, it's also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, marking the end of the winter season.
One of the annual events used to commemorate the festival is a colorful parade complete with animated dragon and lion figures. These fantastic creatures manipulated by expert dancers move through city streets and in and out of businesses during the festivities. Expert dancers animate a large, undulating cloth dragon and prancing lions that make their way through the flurry of enthusiastic spectators. Frequent bursts of firecrackers, another way to ward off evil spirits, are heard along the parade route.
While China charges ahead in its efforts to become a modern global power, its long and complex history as well as its rich cultural traditions will continue to exert a strong influence on virtually every aspect of Chinese life.
China is a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. From its snowy mountain ranges to its long rivers and expansive deserts, China is home to a rich mix of ethnicities, cultures, and traditions that can be traced back thousands of years. Understanding this balance of ancient and modern is essential for visiting, working, and succeeding in China.